Monrovia – The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and chief patron of Barrack Young Controllers Football Club was on display during the visit of Jillian Anne Ellis (or Jill Ellis), head coach of the female national team of the United States of America and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to the Monrovia Football Academy (MFA) on November 30.
Robert Sirleaf took some of the guests by surprise when he vented his anger at our sports editor with the use of invectives in reaction to a November 16 story in the FrontPageAfrica newspaper and online.
The article flagged the selection of 10 BYC players by head coach James Salinsa Debbah when Liberia lost 0-1 to Kenya in a Fifa-recognized international friendly in Nairobi on November 15.
Greece-based Paul Were of Acharnaikos scored a 52nd minute goal to continue Kenya’s unbeaten run in eight games in friendlies and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
But it was the BYC players—Karleo Anderson, Hilton Varney, Prince Jetoh, Kemoh Kamara, Sporo Somah, David Tweh, Mark Paye and Van Dave Harmon that dominated the pre and post-match build-ups.
Sylvanus Morris was also selected but didn’t feature.
This could be due, in part, to Debbah’s friendship with Robert under whose influence he was reportedly appointed as board member at the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA).
Debbah fielded the players ahead of BYC’s third appearance in the Caf Champions League (2017), having won the 2016 Liberia Football Association (LFA) first division championship.
“You write some f**k**g shit about people sometimes you know. You put an a** straight (maybe stray) in the newspaper the other day about me."
"Do you know how I hate the f**k**g Lone Star team. And you were talking about my relationship with Debbah and having some f**k**g board member job at maritime.
“Who gave a damn about what Debbah does with the national team?
It has to stop, Danesius. It has to stop because you get away with this bullshit all the time.
"Somebody needs to teach your a** a lesson about this your f**k**g big stuff attitude and the bullshit you write about people,” said Robert Sirleaf as Montserrado County Representative (District #9, CDC) looked on.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who spoke to the kids and was about to leave, was being quizzed by journalists, including the BBC Jonathan Paye-Layleh, when Robert took on our Sports Editor, who has been repeatedly threatened and or attacked by people affected by his journalistic work.
It is still not clear whether information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe, sports minister Saah Charles N’tow, LFA vice president Musa Shannon, National Bureau of Concession director-general Ciatta Bishop, who is also an LFA executive committee member, MFA director Will Smith, Jill, Ashlyn and the other guests heard Robert.
Robert’s Sunday school words (an analysis)
This was not the first time for Robert to spew out some Sunday school words or invectives.
During a league match between BYC and LISCR FC at the Blue Field on February 12, Robert exhibited an unruly behavior and rained invectives (real foul words or ma cusses, like we say in Liberia) in a show of power and strength to protest the use of striker Trokon Myers, who had completed his transfer from BYC to LISCR.
In the end, an embarrassed-coach Robert Lartey, who moved from BYC to LISCR, was forced to withdraw Myers after several phone calls were made to top brass in government and the business community in a standstill that lasted for more than 30 minutes. LISCR eventually lost 0-1.
In the process, Robert banned Walter Samuels, a die-hard LISCR fan, who was unhappy about his conduct and LISCR FC president Mustapha Raji’s utter silence.
During the 2014 senatorial elections, Robert threatened to deal with protesters against his senatorial bid and make them to “bleed” in the manner and form the Ebola Virus Disease threats its victims but later apologized after mounting criticisms.
“Let me come back in Red Hill Field and catch one of them. Let me come back in this community".
:Plenty people holding placards, I can’t wait to catch them. They will feel their stomach [intestines] coming out of their stomach.
“And when I’m finished with them, and they think they can come hold something, I will deal with them in my most final way [like] the Ebola virus."
"I will make them bleed,” said Robert in an angry tone with a clenched fist on November 8, 2014.
Silence kills but the truth hurts. So I could understand Robert’s anger, especially after BYC, who have been training for days, lost the LFA Super Cup to newly-promoted Monrovia Club Breweries on penalties on November 29.
I have covered Robert from the dedication of his more than 100 projects in and out of Monrovia to his senatorial bid.
I am one of few journalists, who have his email address and have had exclusive interviews with him.
It was sad for him to have made those remarks, especially to somebody he “admires” and has openly praised. I accept his comments in good faith.
As a devout Roman Catholic, I hold no grudges and have forgiven him because we are humans.
But my work is to responsibly collect and disseminate information to my audience regardless of who is affected or promoted.
I am open to corrections and admire those, including Kelvin Sebwe and Musa Shannon, who have found conventional ways to register their disagreements.
This is the job I know to make a decent living and support my family and friends.
I am not a blackmailer and have never been labeled as such in a court of competent jurisdiction.
So please bear with me and offer constructive disagreements.